Commissioned by the NOTUS Contemporary Vocal Ensemble and premiered at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Dominick DiOrio, ‘Virginia – The West’ is my first a cappella choral piece. It is a setting of Walt Whitman’s poem of the same name, a rather tricky one to set, as it contains several characters, parentheticals, changes of mood and subject, all within three brief stanzas. The music follows these changes as closely as possible, though with great attention to musical fluency. At three and a half minutes, the piece is intended to be part of a set of three settings of Whitman’s poetry for chorus. The other two settings are forthcoming.
A recording of the piece can be found on the album Of Radiance and Refraction from Innova Records.